Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fear of The Unknown

Last night my daughter and I were watching a TV show where they were reenacting an event where a sailboat had sunk off the coast in the Atlantic and three people were stranded for five days in a dingy. During their floating nightmare, their fear of the ocean's subsurface grew by the day. Not being able to see clearly what lay below continued to work on their psyche and fear began to overcome them. About the third day sharks began to bump up against the bottom of the dingy and at that point, they became prepared for death. The fear of the ocean, I believe, is related to the fact that we can't see what lies below. Years ago I learned to scuba dive and that experience really illustrated to me that the ocean is actually amazingly peaceful. Seeing a shark while diving does not create that much anxiety because you are under the water and part of the environment. The unknown is usually more fearful than the known.

This recent economic contraction has created fear in the minds of many. The fear is rooted in the fact that the future is unknown. The future is always unknown. Not being able to "see below the ocean's surface" is the source of the anxiety. Of course, it someone lost their job, that is a direct event that should cause anxiety. Like the scuba diver, dive into the ocean and see all that is below and it won't be as fearful. When you see a "shark", you'll know that it's a shark, and you can calmly swim away from it.

Yesterday, a friend visited my office and told me that when he was leaving his office moments prior, a fellow employee had just leaped to his death off of the parking garage. Don't fear the sharks, put on your scuba gear and swim side by side with them.

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